Follow TV Tropes


One-Person Birthday Party

Go To

Pinkie Pie: Thank you all so much for coming! It means so much to Gummy.
Pinkie Pie voicing a bucket of turnips: Could I have some more punch?
Pinkie Pie: Well, of course you can have some more punch, Mr. Turnip. [twitches]
Pinkie Pie voicing a pile of rocks: This is one great pahty! You really outdone yourself!

You've spent hours hanging balloons, decorations, and banners on the wall. You've cooked the food to perfection. The cake is ready, and the candles have already been lit. There's presents to be opened. You even have the music all sorted out. It's a perfect birthday party.

There's just one problem - nobody else is coming.

Birthdays are supposed to be a great occasion to get together with friends, when everything is about you. So when someone has only themselves with whom to celebrate their birthday, it's a sign that they really are alone.

Writers tend to use this trope to establish that the character in question is The Woobie (if Played for Drama) or The Chew Toy (if Played for Laughs). It may also be a Cloud Cuckoo Lander since these will often understand the "everything is about you" tendency literally (if a friend is with you, then not everything is, technically, about you).


Compare Not-So-Forgotten Birthday and A Birthday, Not a Break. Has absolutely nothing to do with Two-Person Pool Party.


    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga 
  • While technically a two-people-party, an omake of Bleach shows Urahara and Yoruichi celebrating their birthdays together but alone from everyone else. The reason for this is because their birthdays are December 31 and January 1, thus all of their friends are celebrating New Year's Eve and New Year somewhere else at the time. According from their dialogue, this happens every year.
  • Though not a birthday but used in a similar context, in Fushigiboshi no★Futagohime, Bright spends an entire episode preparing for a lavish party to celebrate becoming the king after taking over the Wonder Planet. While decorating, he imagines his Love Interest Fine showing up. Fine does show up to talk some sense into him but is repulsed by his Brainwashed and Crazy nature. She's later saved by her friends, including Rein, a Fangirl of Bright, and Bright's sister, Altezza, both who are shocked at his behavior as well. They leave him all alone while he celebrates sadly to himself.
  • In Konosuba (Season 2, Episode 2 for the anime), a Pensieve Flashback to Megumin and Yunyun's memories of their time in the academy depicts Yunyun throwing a birthday party all to herself, presumably due to her Friendless Background.
  • Mazinger Z: In episode 19, the Small Name, Big Ego Butt-Monkey Boss tries to get people to purchase tickets to attend his birthday party. However everyone runs away from him, and he can not figure out why. Kouji tries to explain to him that people don't like getting bullied into paying for a party they do not want to go to start with. Finally, Kouji agrees to attend Boss' party out of pity and even performs a couple of tricks with his bike so that more people come. However, during the party, Kouji gets summoned to the Institute, and he leaves. As a result, everybody else leaves too, leaving Boss alone.
  • In Paranoia Agent, the second ep character, Yuuichi "Icchi" Taira, had this happen to him as his classmates think he was the one who struck a fellow classmate, Shougo, as Lil Slugger due to wearing gold colored roller blades. Despite trying to state otherwise, only his tutor, Harumi, shows up.

  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Smurfed Behind: The Departure", the Smurfs are all busy preparing for Empath's 155th birthday party when they all get sucked into the prehistoric past when Papa Smurf opens a time portal to bring the baby dinosaur they found back home. By the time Empath arrives, only Polaris Psyche is left in the village, and the party is pretty much abandoned as Empath heartbreakingly celebrates his birthday by toasting marshmallows instead.

  • In Little Man Tate, the main character hands out invitations to his party at school, only to see them blowing around on the ground when they rush in from recess. Cut to the party, where it's just him and his mom (and she doesn't count).
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has this with Max before he becomes Electro. Since nobody remembers his birthday, Max celebrates it all by himself by buying a small birthday cake, putting up some meager decorations, and even making a invite card all for him.
  • Stella Dallas - well, not quite, since Stella and the maid are there. But Laurel is crushed when neither her teacher nor any of her friends will come to her birthday party, because they don't approve of Stella.
  • The lonely hero of The Best Offer is seen all by himself on his birthday at the restaurant.
  • This is the killer's motivation in Happy Birthday to Me. At least that's what the person who framed Ginny wanted people to think.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone has Harry lying on the ground of the cabin and drawing a birthday cake with candles in the dirt. At midnight, making it his birthday, he blows out the candles on the drawing. Then Hagrid knocks the door right off its hinges.
  • In The Game, Nicholas Van Orten is an extremely wealthy, attractive man who is so Married to the Job that he spends his birthday working even though he's the boss, and the only thing he has to mark the occasion is a surprise birthday cupcake left by his housekeeper to go with his solitary supper. If you didn't catch how this relates to subsequent events, take some time to think about it.
  • Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport: A documentary about German and Austrian Jewish children being rescued from Nazi Germany. One woman recalls that the truth about her situation as a little girl in 1938 Vienna after the Nazis rolled in was brought home to her when nobody came to her birthday party.

  • Harry Potter makes it clear that the Dursleys tend to ignore or forget his birthday. In Chamber of Secrets, Harry sings Happy Birthday to himself. His birthdays improve from the third book onward because of his friends and Mrs Weasley.
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane opens with the line "No-one came to my seventh birthday party."
  • Wings of Fire: Prince Fathom mentions that nobody came to his sixth birthday party, and no dragons (except maybe his crush Indigo and his sister Pearl) talked to him about it.
  • In Dorothy Must Die, Amy remembers the day before her sixth birthday party. She invited her class, but the school bully Madison told everyone not to go to Amy's party because Amy was poor and her clothes were dirty, and they would be dirty too if they went. Nobody came to the party.

    Live Action TV 
  • In an episode of Mr. Bean, Mr Bean goes to a restaurant on his own for his birthday, and gives himself a birthday card. Unlike many examples of this trope, he seems quite content with the situation.
  • The Golden Girls: Rose flashes back to a time when she celebrated her birthday alone, after the death of her husband.
  • A flashback in Smallville shows that as a kid, Lex Luthor had a birthday all alone. It gave context to his miserable childhood and how he developed into the adult he eventually became.
  • Once Upon a Time begins this way. When it turns out that her date was just a sham to get a bounty, Emma goes home to have a cupcake with a single candle on it by herself. She blows out the candle, presumably wishing she wasn't alone, and there's a knock at the door, which turns out to be the son she gave up for adoption ten years ago.
    • Paralleled in a Season 7 flashback with Alice, though considering she was magically trapped at the time and the only person who knew her whereabouts had been cursed to keep away from her, it's obvious she wasn't alone by choice.
  • On Parks and Recreation, Ron Swanson celebrates one of his birthdays alone in a small office with a steak and a bottle of scotch. The twist is that this is the party that his friend Leslie has thrown for him, knowing what he likes.
  • On The Big Bang Theory, in a hypothetical Alternate Universe where Sheldon and Leonard are not living together, Amy is tearfully singing the Happy Birthday song to herself since she would have never met the gang.
    Happy birthday to me
    Happy birthday to me
    There are tears in the frosting
    Happy birthday to me.
  • On the first season of A Different World, Whitley's birthday is coming up and she planned on spending it with her best friend, Millie - who backs out because she and her boyfriend, Ron, are celebrating their 3-month anniversary. Near the end of the episode, Whitley sadly sings "Happy Birthday To Me" to herself with a cupcake and a single candle in it. Averted as everyone comes in right after she finishes singing.
  • In one episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Goren and Eames are investigating a murder which seems to have been committed by one of a pair of constantly sniping married psychologists. Each is convinced the other is guilty, while their daughter is caught in the middle. Goren catches sight of a photo in which the daughter, aged around eight, is having one of these, celebrating with only household staff in attendance because her parents aren't around. The insight this gives him into the family dynamic helps him realize the truth - the daughter committed the murder, and is framing both parents, as revenge for her miserable childhood.
  • The Chew Toy Misty of the Show Within a Show Moody's Point from The Amanda Show throws a birthday party but no one comes. She ends up singing karaoke with the janitor.
  • Louis C.K.'s appearance on Saturday Night Live featured this when he hires a birthday clown as entertainment. The clown is decidedly creeped out before warming up to the lonely guy - only for Ernest to reveal that he plans on chopping the clown into pieces to put in his fridge.
    Ernest: That was pretty funny. (Pulls out some money to give Dodo)
    Dodo: Are you giving me a tip?
    Ernest: Yeah, you want me to wait 'til after?
    Dodo: Yeah, no, there's no protocol for whatever-this-is.
  • During a flashback in an episode of How I Met Your Mother, Barney's mom gives him a letter from the U.S. Postmaster General, apologizing that all the invitations mailed out for his birthday party were lost in the mail, leaving him alone on his birthday. Strangely, the handwriting looked very similar to his mom's.
  • In an episode of Family Matters, Steve Urkel ends up celebrating his 20th birthday by himself since no one else remembered. When Carl finds out what's going on, he tries to make it up to him.

  • "Pity Party" by Melanie Martinez about her tragic character, Cry Baby. In this case, she throws a birthday party, inviting her boyfriend and a few others, but no one shows up. She tries to stay positive, saying she'll have more cake, but she quickly spirals into depressed psychosis, trashing her party without enjoyment, and feeling acute loneliness.
    It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
    Cry if I want to
    Cry, cry, cry
    I'll cry until the candles burn down this place
    I'll cry until my pity party's in flames

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Not a birthday, but when AJ Lee threw a party to celebrate her becoming the longest-reigning Divas Champion ever, she was the only one in attendance.

  • Crimes of the Heart begins with the main character trying to have one of these, attempting to stick a birthday candle into a cookie.

    Video Games 
  • The "Claptrap's Birthday Bash" sidequest from Borderlands 2, where you send invitations to Claptrap's birthday party for him. None of the guests accept the invitation, so you end up alone with Claptrap. You could make it a little less sad by having four players go, but that's four out of six playable characters — under the best circumstances, not even all the Vault Hunters go to Claptrap's party, which only ends up lasting a few minutes. Word of God states that the mission was based off of an actual One Man Birthday Party that the creative designer once witnessed.
  • In the first Simon the Sorcerer game, when Simon visits the swampling's house, Swampy mistakes him for a guest that's come to celebrate Swampy's birthday. Swampy's actual birthday was three weeks earlier, but Swampy doesn't mind Simon being late because he's still the first guest to show up.
  • A disturbingly large amount of fanwork depicts Alice Margatroid of Touhou (such as the current page image) this way, perhaps due to her (fanon) isolationist, tsundere persona. Yuuka Kazami occasionally gets this treatment too, though in her case it's because of her (sometimes supposed) Ax-Crazy personality.
  • Blue, one of the Brothers Bear in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, is depressed that no one remembered his birthday when you first meet him. As it turns out, one of his brothers - Blizzard - DID remember, but was too far away to attend the party. As such, it falls to the Kongs to relay his gift (and when they do, Blue cheers up considerably).
  • In the opening prologue of Batman: Arkham Knight, as you walk around in Pauli's diner, there is a lone man at a booth with a small cupcake with his name, 'Noel', on it with a single lit candle. Noel is downtrodden and will give you a dirty look if you approach him. He will then return to looking downtrodden as his cupcake. Unfortunately, this is only the start of his troubles, as the booth next to him is a Scarecrow henchmen about to deploy fear gas in the diner.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Ultra Fast Pony episode "Purple Party Pooper", Twilight sends invitations for her birthday party, then finds out that no one is planning to attend. She becomes increasingly unhinged as she tries to figure out why her friends won't come. The end of the episode implies that Princess Celestia had the same problem (the day was coincidentally her birthday as well)—since Twi was the only one to show up, and she only came because Celestia commanded her.
  • The Taco-Man Paint short "Today is My Birthday" has the title character throw one for himself, because all his friends died beforehand.
  • Sonic wishes himself a happy birthday has that blue hedgehog celebrating his birthday, all alone.
  • Variants in Episode 39 of The Most Popular Girls in School: Brittnay, Mackenzie, and Trisha throw a New Year Eve's party, but nobody (except Deandra, eventually) shows up; kind of Justified, as they're Alpha Bitches. OTOH, this is deliberately Invoked with Rachel's & Judith's party.

    Web Comics 
  • In Sinfest it's revealed that this was one of many Break the Cutie moments for Lil' Evil throughout his life.
  • In Brawl in the Family, one of the Waluigi-themed comics depicts Waluigi as the only attendee of his own birthday party. This comes as a big Mood Whiplash for people familiar with the Waluigi strips. As mentioned in the newspost, one forum member rewrote the Downer Ending of the strip to portray Waluigi as someone who prefers to celebrate alone and another wrote an alternate version where Luigi came by.
  • In the achingly beautiful "Counting Stars," the main character comes home on her 16th birthday to find a cupcake and a note of apology from her mother. She has no friends and no one with whom to share the special day, and is clearly despondent.
  • Narrowly averted in the Birthday Episode of Cobweb and Stripes, when Lydia turns 19. Her apologetic father must be out of town for a business meeting, and her oblivious stepmother has a gallery showing of her hideous art. Fortunately for the birthday girl, Betelgeuse is eavesdropping on the conversation and arranges for a much better celebration.
  • In Happy Birthday to Me from Loading Artist.
  • Nedroid has a lonely bear sitting beneath a banner reading "Happy Birthday", which currently provides the image for Forgotten Birthday.
  • In this Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic, a man uses induction to prove that any number of people constitutes a party.
  • In The Handbook of Heroes comic "Throw Anything", Thief celebrates her birthday alone after discovering that her Throw Anything feat does not apply to throwing parties.

    Western Animation 
  • Exaggerated and parodied in the backstory of Doofenshmirtz in Phineas and Ferb. He states that neither of his parents bothered to show up to his birth, and that he had to throw surprise birthday parties for himself. Also, at age eight, he was abandoned at a Suck E. Cheese's to the point that the employees working there let him lock up the shop at closing.
  • The Cow and Chicken episode "Factory Follies", in which Red Guy plays the foreman of a factory who treats his employees like worthless slaves. At the end of the workday, he reminds everyone that his surprise birthday party will be held in the conference room later that night. Of course, nobody shows up, so he throws the party for himself and sings, "Oh birthday boy, add one more year/oh birthday boy with the big fat rear!"
  • A Cutaway Gag in Futurama shows that nobody came to Zoidberg's birthday party, in the episode where time keeps skipping.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Party of One" plays with this one. Pinkie celebrates a party with a bunch of inanimate objects because her friends were busy, and she thinks that they don't want to be her friends anymore — but the party in question is for (the day after) her pet alligator's birthday, not her own. At the end, it's revealed that the real reason her friends can't attend this party is because they're organizing a surprise party for Pinkie's birthday. Pinkie had somehow completely forgotten her own birthday. Since she only attends this party after Rainbow Dash drags her there, the cast almost winds up with a party where everyone except the birthday girl shows up.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Nelson throws a birthday party and invites all of his classmates. Bart is the only one to turn up because Marge forces him to go.
      • Brought up in the episode "Radioactive Man," when Nelson laughs at himself for screwing up the audition for Radioactive Man's sidekick, Fallout Boy.
    • In the episode where a crazy big white guy thinks he's Michael Jackson, it's Lisa's 8th birthday. She begs Bart not to forget but of course he does. She sits with only the baby Maggie for company, singing:
    Happy birthday to me
    Happy birthday to me
    Happy birthday, overlooked middle child
    Happy birthday to me.
  • The first Christmas Episode of South Park ends with Jesus singing "Happy Birthday" all by himself.
  • Happens to Ling Ling in Drawn Together, just as someone was mentioning "Now everyone is happy".
  • Exaggerated for comedy in Megas XLR. Jamie, trying to get a favour, insists that he's always been there for Coop. Cue to Coop recalling all the times Jamie has left him hanging, including Coop waiting alone in front of a movie theater, at the amusement park, this trope as Coop sits alone at a table for his birthday party, and then Coop sitting alone at a table for Jamie's birthday party.
  • A good number of childhood flashbacks in Archer involve Sterling sitting by himself crying. One related to his birthday had him in a run-down apartment all by himself, his butler/nanny locked in a bathroom getting high and his mother out of the country on a secret agent job ("Guatemala's democratically-elected government wasn't gonna overthrow itself!"). Then Sterling's anonymous father entered to give him a stuffed alligator. Given the adult Sterling has an intense and uncharacteristic fear and hatred of alligators, it's not clear quite what that means on a psychological level.
  • Summer Camp Island. In the episode "It's My Party," Susie tries to invite all the campers to her birthday party, but no one shows up. Oscar and Hedgehog then see Susie inside her cabin, singing a sad birthday song to herself, and using her magic to conjure up a cupcake with a single birthday candle on it, which is then stolen by a bat.
    • In the same episode, Oscar reveals that nobody showed up to his fifth birthday party, not even Hedgehog, his best friend. She claims she was busy that day.
  • Twelve Forever: In "Secrets Forever", Reggie, Todd and Esther stumble across a supposedly deserted grocery store which forms products that reveal embarrassing secrets about themselves when opened. They go through three of Reggie's with the third one revealing she had tried to invite her classmates to her 11th birthday party. But since her classmates found her too childish and weird, only her mother's friend showed up.

     Real Life 
  • For its one year anniversary on the planet Mars, the Curiosity Mars rover used one of its on-board instruments to hum "Happy Birthday" to itself all by its lonesome.
  • Invoked by Stephen Hawking. He once threw a champagne party with invites being sent only after the party was over, in order to either prove or disprove the existence of time travelers. Nobody but Hawking showed up.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: